HIPAA Waiver For Trusts
A common misconception is that having a current Last Will and Testament (will), a living trust, and a power of attorney (POA) in place means that the estate plan is complete and your loved ones can fulfill your final wishes should you become disabled. However, ensuring that estate documents include a HIPAA waiver is also crucial for guaranteeing that select people can make vital decisions on your behalf. The waiver allows specific individuals, such as those with power of attorney, to access medical records from healthcare providers if necessary. Consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer at Roulet Law Firm, P.A., by calling our Minnesota office at (763) 420-5087, or our Florida office at (941) 909-4644 to ensure that your plan includes a HIPAA waiver for trusts and meets HIPAA waiver guidelines in Florida or Minnesota.
What Is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and How Does It Affect Estate Planning?
The federal legislation called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides strict guidelines to protect individual privacy regarding medical care. The act ensures that people have the right to keep their medical information private from anyone who does not authorization. However, HIPAA regulations could cause problems if an individual becomes incapacitated without a HIPAA waiver in place that includes all required information. There must be a valid HIPAA waiver on file legally authorizing a third party to review and make medical decisions on a person’s behalf.
HIPAA regulations strictly limit access to protected health care information by third parties. When an estate plan does not comply with HIPAA laws, it could mean that those with a POA or the executor of the estate would be unable to obtain crucial medical information. A HIPAA release or waiver authorizes specific people to access a person’s healthcare records should that person become incapacitated. The estate owner can create HIPAA waivers to authorize estate trustees or family members the right to access information and make medical decisions on his or her behalf. In many cases, it may be necessary to tailor documents to meet the individual’s unique circumstances.
While the federal government enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act nearly 30 years ago, in 1996, specific regulations became effective more recently. Estate planning documents must now include HIPAA language on the power of attorney and other documents. A sound estate plan should comprise a valid HIPAA authorization and cover the following:
- Directive while the estate creator is healthy and able to make decisions
- Wishes and instructions should the person become disabled and unable to make crucial healthcare and financial decisions
- Final wishes upon the person’s death
Health care directives are vital tools for effective estate planning. However, the plan is only complete when it includes a written authorization to release the person’s medical care records on his or her behalf.
The health care directive is critical to incapacity planning and protection, as it allows estate planners to appoint agents to make decisions for them. The person the estate owner selects would handle making essential medical decisions should the grantor lose the ability to make those decisions. The healthcare directive serves vital functions, including identifying the people who will take over making decisions and guiding the third party about the person’s healthcare wishes. These documents must include a valid, up-to-date HIPAA waiver.
HIPAA waivers can be individual documents, or the estate planner can merge the legal language into the will and other estate documents. When preparing your estate planning documents, you may want a guide through the complex process to ensure that the documents comply with federal and state laws. An experienced estate planning attorney at Roulet Law Firm, P.A., may be able to help prepare those documents, including a HIPAA waiver for trusts.
HIPAA compliance is a vital part of estate planning and continues to evolve. The advancing technology and privacy laws made updating the HIPAA privacy rule necessary. The need for healthcare professionals and organizations to protect their patient’s privacy and comply with privacy rules means implementing new security practices. Healthcare organizations must protect PHI (protected health information) and continue to build trust with patients, and they can do that with the proper considerations. According to the United States Department of Health & Human Services, the HIPAA waiver gives the POA or personal representative authorization to access the individual’s medical records or make healthcare decisions.
Ensure that all the legal documents included in an estate plan are up to date and in compliance with state laws and regulations. According to Florida Statutes § 766.1065, a HIPAA waiver to release medical information is only valid for two years. Therefore, if the estate owner signed the waiver more than two years ago, he or she must execute a new document to ensure that the estate plan complies with Florida privacy regulations.
The recent changes in regulations make it vital for individuals to review their estate plans to ensure that the documents, including the health care directive, comply with HIPAA laws. According to the Minnesota Department of Administration, healthcare providers can only disclose information to third parties when a signed, dated consent form is on file. That authorization form is only valid for one year.
A valid HIPAA waiver is a crucial estate planning document that every Minnesota and Florida resident should include. These documents need to be up to date and in conformity with federal and state laws. The executed waiver is necessary for third parties to access your medical records should you not be able to make your own decisions regarding healthcare services and treatment. While HIPAA regulations are in place to protect individual privacy, when estate documents do not comply with the legislation, the omission could prevent the chosen agents from accessing vital medical records needed to make important healthcare decisions. To learn more about including a HIPAA waiver for trusts in Minnesota or Florida, consider contacting an experienced elder and estate planning lawyer at Roulet Law Firm, P.A. by calling our MN office at (763) 420-5087 or our FL office at (941) 909-4644 today.